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If we put the interests of the American people first, we can lead our nation to a path of sustainable prosperity & security and become a role model for the world

Poll after poll confirms that the majority of Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

It can be argued that since the end of the Cold War about 25 years ago, our thinking has not been clear enough — our leaders too narrowminded, our policies too small and our actions too short-sighted — to fully understand what is happening and come up with a clear vision of how to address it.

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What happens if you fill a room with highly educated and intellectually curious people? Does the combined IQ coefficient cancel itself out or does it elevate the discussions to a higher level?

After attending three days packed with presentations, storytelling and conversations, to me the answer is clear: It seems to lift everybody up a notch. Suddenly I felt smarter, more knowledgeable, more inspired and more empowered than before I entered the room.

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While planning for my family’s future, I looked up aging tables and I took two different “life expectancy calculator” tests. The results were both good news and shocking at the same time. The general life expectancy has continually been moving up and, as a result, we have to plan for a longer life than the old common wisdom suggested, with all the consequences that come along with it positive, hopeful and scary, depending on your own level of confidence in what aging might mean.

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zurich-church-towersLOCATION: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND IN THE HEART OF THE OLD TOWN
A white light wakes me up in the morning; its color is uniform, making it difficult to guess the actual time. I get up and peak out the window, looking at two large church towers each bearing a grandiose clock on their walls, confirming it is 6:27 a.m. Soon the bells will ring.

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0215-LastCall-CaroonOn a recent trip to Los Angeles, I heard a satirical stand-up comedian say the following (and I’m paraphrasing here): “There are so many different terrorist groups now that we don’t know who to fight any longer. We should let them quarrel among themselves like a knockout round and then fight the winner.”

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I have been asked to give a speech Jan. 20 on the “Risks and Opportunities for the Next Decade for an Island Community,” as part of a speaker series organized by the Heritage Library and Coastal Discovery Museum entitled “Hilton Head in the Modern Era.” (See the ad on page 142).

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David Bennett will be the new mayor of Hilton Head Island. With a 2-to-1 margin, this is not a victory, but a mandate.

It was not a coincidence to discover that many of the most respected community leaders representing the most diverse backgrounds one can think of were supporting Bennett’s quest to become mayor. How diverse you ask? How about people in the fields of architecture, arts, banking, business, land development, education, hospitality, media, nonprofits, politics, real estate, religion, sustainability, volunteer groups and world affairs, just to name a few?

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I had an opportunity to meet with neurosurgeon Rudy Kachmann recently. After an interesting discussion about the effects of living an unhealthy lifestyle, I invited him to write a column on the topic in place of my regular “Last Call.” I hope you find his information as useful as I did.  — Marc Frey

Good lifestyle choices could eliminate most common illnesses.
By Dr. Rudy Kachmann

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An estimated 80 or 90 percent of the time our cars are standing idle in the garage, at work or some other place. This is a huge amount of underutilized capital and physical mass.

In all likelihood, the future of personal transportation will challenge not one but two models we take for granted today: personal possession and human beings behind the wheel.

Over 40,000 people die in road accidents each year in the U.S. and human error, not mechanical failure, causes almost all of them.

Advanced technology will soon make it possible for us to enter a vehicle and punch in the destination, then sit back and watch as the car of the future will take off and safely deliver us at the desired arrival point.

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LANCE-HANLINWith Marc Frey out of the country, this month’s Last Call has transformed into the … LANCE CALL

Last month we asked our readers a question: How can traffic to Hilton Head Island be improved?

The choices were:

  • Do nothing.
  • Widen the current bridge to the island.
  • Build a new bridge to the island.
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marcfrey150As a first generation European immigrant, I’m compelled to compare the Old World with the New World.

One of the essential things that attracted me to the U.S. is American optimism — the will to focus on the positive instead of bemoaning the negative, believing that things will look up and we will always find or invent a way to make things better. Isn’t that the soul of America, the spirit which fueled the development of our country in the first place?

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marcfrey-soccerUnless you have been living under a rock you know that the 2014 soccer World Cup is in full swing in Brazil.

More than 200 nations compete for a spot for the final 32 teams that make the World Cup qualifications held every four years. The 2014 draw contains soccer superpowers such as Brazil and Italy, tiny countries such as Costa Rica and Ivory Coast and countries one might not expect such as Iran and South Korea.

It’s easy to understand why soccer is the world’s most played and most watched sport. It is the one sport that most closely mirrors real life. It’s full of drama, surprises and injustice. It requires in equal measures a plan and improvisation. It takes a team of 11 players to win; yet outstanding individual contributions make the difference. One moment it can be so exhilarating, whipping a whole nation into a frenzy. The next moment, the mood can swing the other way.

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marcfrey150Most of our readers chose to make Hilton Head Island their ZIP code …. or did it choose them?

Sure there are a few rational reasons like the climate, reasonable taxes and low crime rates, but the same qualities are true for many other small towns. Yet there is something in our subconscious that brought us here and attracted people from across the U.S. and the world.

When Charles Fraser first conceived Sea Pines, he thought green before the word green stood for sustainable and not just the color of grass. His vision was to incorporate the beauty of nature into the everyday life experience of its inhabitants and create a human-scaled community in harmony with its environment. He would say, “Respect the things that were here before we came.” In doing so he laid the foundation of what makes our island so unique.

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marcfrey150According to Michael Porter (a Harvard business professor, capitalist and registered republican) it’s time to ditch the GDP per capita as the sole measure of well being for a country and pay more attention to the Social Progress Index that measures the livability of all its citizen and is a more comprehensive indicator of well being than the average income per person.

Before analyzing our disappointing ranking of 16th among 132 countries that were included in the study I want to point out why social progress is important: “Social well-being is the foundation of a peaceful, democratic, capitalist society. It is the philosophical foundation on which our nation was built: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all not a few.”

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